Health care fraud trial date set for Auburn doctor

Health care fraud trial date set for Auburn doctor

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - There are new details in the case of a local doctor indicted by a federal grand jury on health care fraud charges. The trial for 60-year-old cardiologist John Mitchell of Auburn is scheduled for September 8 in Opelika, according to his attorney.

Mitchell is accused of submitting false claims for inserting unnecessary heart stints and falsely documenting patient medical records, after an investigation by the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, the FBI, and other agencies.

Authorities say that includes cardiac procedures allegedly not needed at the East Alabama Medical Center from 2006 to 2012.

In addition to the federal charges, the indictment also seeks $450,000 in restitution. Mitchell, who denies the charges, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on each of two health care fraud counts and five years in prison on each of the eight counts of making false statements related to health care matters.

Mitchell released the following statement to the media on May 30: "I am disappointed that the government has chosen to bring untrue charges against me.  In all my (30) years of practice, I have performed a procedure only if I believed it to be medically necessary and in the best interest of my patient. Taking care of patients is my life's calling and I would never betray the trust of the patients who have come to me for care. The charges that the government has brought against me are false.  I look forward to my day in court and the opportunity to clear my name."

The East Alabama Medical Center also released a statement earlier this year.

Stay tuned to WTVM for the latest on the case and Mitchell's trial in Opelika next month.

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